A criminal conviction is a big deal and an outcome that can permanently change your life’s trajectory. Dealing with the ramifications of a conviction can feel particularly hopeless if you were unfairly charged.
Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, you might have the chance to file an appeal. Knowing when to pursue this process can help you make a confident decision regarding your next step.
Lack of evidence
Arguably the most common reason for filing an appeal is lack of evidence. The information presented in your trial to substantiate the claims against you might sometimes lack depth. It could even provide an inaccurate picture of what really happened. Under such circumstances, you may feel that your conviction lacks any merit. Filing an appeal could allow you an opportunity to retell your story and describe how the evidence presented does not adequately prove your involvement.
The appeal process takes time. In fact, according to the North Carolina Department of Justice, an appeal can take years to complete. Even then, it is not guaranteed that your outcome will be any different than the first time. You will want to work closely with your legal team to understand the requirements for filing an appeal on time.
Another reason to file an appeal is when legal misconduct interferes with your case. This could happen in the form of prosecutorial misconduct. It could also include mismanagement of duties on the part of the jury. You rely heavily on the professionalism and responsibility of such individuals to help you secure the most satisfactory outcome. One misstep on their part could have life-changing consequences for you.
Establishing a legitimate reason to file an appeal may improve your chances of success. If the courts appeal your conviction, you may receive a modified sentence or they might dismiss your conviction entirely. Sometimes, an appeal does not work and an affirmation of your conviction will stand.